Photobook Interviews: Hanna

Interview Visuals

Interview Visuals

She creates stunningly intricate cakes seemingly out of thin air; and they’re delicious too! Hanna Baharin is someone who has successfully made a career out of her passions, although she did not start that way. She put in her hours and slaved through to get where she is today. She’s a loving wife and mother whose only other obsession besides cakes is baking for her kids. Read on as she tells of her tales of how she made her interests into a labour of love.

 

Profile 21) Hey there you gorgeous woman! Let’s start with a little introduction. Who you are, what you’re about and what should we know about you?
Hey there Soffian! Thanks for having me :)

This year I am turning 40. It’s a big number and I am excited to be a full blown woman. My happiness derives from being a homebody together with my two little cheerubs and a wonderful supportive rock of a husband… and that is who I am on most days, however there is this other side of me whom I cannot deny keeps creeping out over these past 10 years of my life and it is deeply attached to creating edible art – specifically in cake design.

This is my passion.

 

“My motto is to avoid
taking any shortcuts.”

 

2) You told us you were in marketing and advertising when you first entered the working world. How did you end up getting into baking and cake design?
I honestly in a million years would have never imagined that I would end up being a wedding cake designer. My journey in caking only started when I left the corporate world. I had time on my hands and decided to enrol myself in a baking course. At the time, I wanted to specifically learn about bread making and the course I took had us learning a little about cake baking and cake decorating. I quickly realised my interest in the cake design and followed through with a beginners course in cake decorating. I made my first wedding cake 10 years ago with cascading blue roses and was thrilled with the results. I wanted more.

 

3) We’ll admit to have stalked your social media and woah momma… your designs are stunning. We can see that this definitely didn’t happen overnight. How did you get to be so good though?
When in cake mode, I love to make everything from scratch and create something new for every project. My motto is to to avoid taking any shortcuts. We learn the same techniques to help expedite the process, but I feel like I always want to get back to the basics to create all my designs. To do it the “hard” way, true to handcrafted quality. I guess it’s that creative process that gives me the drive to go on.

 

Number 3

 

4) Marilyn vos Savant had quoted that “A good idea will keep you awake during the morning, but a great idea will keep you awake during the night.” Where do you draw your ideas and inspiration from?
For every cake project, I search for inspiration from the bride and groom. For me, the wedding cake should represent them, their love and their family. There was this wonderfully sweet bride I had the pleasure of working with once, my thought process during the sketching, coloring and creating the cake were meadows filled with sweet florals and butterflies. I even listened to the bride and groom’s special song – to feel their happiness. It gives me such joy!

 

Number 4

 

5) You seem to do a lot of birthday and wedding cakes. Is that like a specialty of yours?
My cakes are mostly made adorned with sugar flowers. I enjoy making flowers… understanding the components of the flowers and turning them into a sugar reality. Every single opportunity I have, I will sit in my cake studio and attempt a flower. I think that’s my speciality :)

And if they want it on a birthday cake or a wedding cake, I will be most obliged!

 

“They couldn’t believe
it was actual cake all the way!”

 

6) Besides cakes, what about other pursuits? Do you have other passions that keep you up at night?
Oh!!! I have found the best thing in the world! I have started making Clay Flowers!!

Sugar flowers lasts forever in cold and non humid countries but they are extremely fragile and they break easily (like glass). When I discovered how similar clay flowers are (in technique) to create, I jumped for joy. I now have a bouquet of orchids in a beautiful pot in my living room made out of Clay! They don’t break! They are not as fragile and they last forever!

 

Number 6

 

7) You say your family is your greatest support system. Tell us some tales about your kids when it comes to your cakes. They must be enjoying themselves with all the treats!
My kiddos tell me that they want to be just like me when they grow up. They wanna be a great cake stylist :) and it warms my heart, makes me proud and often gives the drive to continue. My elder one (7 years old) says she is my cake buddy. And both are ever so happy to assist me during crunch time. As a baker mommy, I tend to buy lots of ‘real’ baker things for the tiny tots, so they get ever so familiar with them. I am proud to say they know all the ‘baker’ terms like gumpaste, rolling, marshmallow fondant, and they even know the names of flowers now too! And they are sooo tiny!

 

Number 71

 

I made my daughters cake when she turned one. Her first word was ‘Duck’ and so I made her a cute polka dot duck cake… and all she could say in that moment was Duck! Duck! Duck! – It left me with warm fuzzy feeling that day…

Another fun memory was when we had a picnic birthday bash when my daughter turned 4 years old. I made her a 3-tier birthday cake! It was huge and almost towering her! I left the cake under the hot hot sun that morning without any shade and to my surprise it did not wither. That special moment when she cut the cake all the way from the top tier to the lowest tier left a shock to everyone (moms and children alike). They couldn’t believe it was actual cake all the way!

 

Number 722

 

My hubby has to win an award for being the most supportive and patient husband in the world! No exaggeration there! However, he is my ultimate client because his criticism over my designs can cause me a cake avalanche. But when the cakes are complete and ready, his praises keep me smiling all day long.

 

8) Share some of your more memorable cake orders/designs with us!
The bride wanted lace glamour and white… it’s fit for even royalty!
Number 81

 

The birthday boy turned 50 and the theme was black and gold.
Number 82

The birthday girl turned 40 and she loves Agnes Martin. I had the pleasure of visiting her art masterpiece exhibition at the Guggenheim museum and was thrilled to make this cake!

Agnes Martin art piece and me:

 

and the Agnes Martin inspired cake:
Number 84

 

9) Every passionate person has their own hero. Anyone in the field that you look up to? Who are your own personal heroes here?
My idol has to be Maggie Austin. When I first started cake decorating, to every page I turn, they would tell me that the creation process has to follow the rules and it has to be perfect. Maggie Austin she gave me the confidence to embrace the imperfections and to create art freely without doubting yourself.

I had the pleasure of learning from this special lady in her homebase cake studio in DC. It was truly inspiring.

Oh, and she makes cakes for the White House! Who can top that!!?? 😬

 

10) Any notable designs you’re particularly fond of?
If I had to pick one, I would say my favourite cake to date would be the one I made for my brother. I went with the flow on this project. The top tier has noticeable cascading flowers, but what you don’t really see is the texture behind it. It was made with tiny tiny little hand cut out rectangular pieces made to look like organised sequins. It took me forever to finish this but every single moment made it all worth it when I saw my brother and his sweet wife cut the cake.

 

Number 10

 

11) So we like to ask our interviewees this. What do you ALWAYS have in your bag?
A woman should never reveal what they have in their bag because it’s almost full of rubbish :) however if I must! Top picks are my orange lipstick, my scarf, my planner and my never ending to do list :)

 

12) What’s next on your list? What do your future plans look like?
I wanna start teaching… I have had many inquiries over the past few years to teach my sugar flowers, cake artistry and also some basic classes. It’s something I would really like to do.. to share… as my kids would say, sharing is caring mommy.

 

Hanna has her own decked out cake studio
at home where she runs her cake design business.
Check her (and say hi!) on Instagram @hanna_baharin.

 

More 1In action!

More 2One of my favourites

 

More 3Mommy mode

 

More 4Adding the finishing touch

 

More 5

 




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